Cy Wakeman is a drama researcher, New York Times bestselling author and Global Guru’s 2023 World’s #1 Leadership Guru, recognized for her reality-based approach to leadership.
Backed by over 25 years of unparalleled experience partnering with top brands spanning all industries, Wakeman’s philosophy offers a modern approach to leadership development in which employees and managers alike can deliver better results with less drama, higher engagement without entitlement and more happiness in even the most challenging workplace realities.
Leading with compassion
From a young age, it was obvious to Wakeman that suffering was optional and so often self-imposed, and she felt a strong calling to help people understand how their minds work so they would be played by their own egos less. She believes that if only people could stop believing everything they think and instead meet those thoughts with inquiry, we all could find the peace we’re seeking. Her heart’s passion is helping others by teaching what she feels is simple and true.
Friends and colleagues alike describe Wakeman as a unique mix of adventurous, kind, generous and introverted—a homebody who loves to travel the world and take on incredible challenges. At work she’s an innovator, disrupter and soother of minds who mentors and develops others. She approaches every day and task—both personal and professional—with an open mind and heart full of curiosity and compassion.
The goal of building a business with sustainable value based on her research and content to continue serving clients long after she’s gone governs every aspect of Wakeman’s life. She constantly strives to prepare future generations for success as she plans her next contributions to society. Above all, Wakeman wants people in her life to feel well-loved and to know they are enough and are supported whole-heartedly at all times.
Empowering leaders in the workplace
Wakeman knows a leader can’t take others where they haven’t gone themselves in evolutionary terms. You can lead people whose jobs you may not know but you cannot lead people with a self you do not know. She lives by the rules that it’s vital for leaders to do their evolutionary inner work and applies that principle to her everyday life as well. Through her work as a dubbed “secret weapon to restoring sanity to the workplace and the world place,” Wakeman empowers leaders to love their teams up while calling them up to greatness.
With her keen insight that modern leaders manage the energy of people not the work of people, she’s helped hundreds of clients who want to focus on their circumstances and put energy into why they can’t succeed in the given circumstances, showing them the key is focusing energy on how we could achieve the desired results.
Deeply passionate about balancing engagement and accountability in the workplace, focusing on how engagement without accountability creates entitlement and accountability without engagement creates hardship, Wakeman is committed to promoting her clients’ evolution. An ardent champion for individual evolution, Wakeman focuses on people’s personal development so they can move through messy parts of life with lots of love and skill.
Creating a powerhouse brand
Wakeman’s Reality-Based Leadership newsletter, which often goes viral within organizations, reaches over 30,000 raving fans who discuss and apply her modern leadership techniques each and every week with their teams. Her client list includes Google, Meta, Viacom, NBC Universal, Keurig Dr. Pepper, NASA, Pfizer, CVS, Johns Hopkins, Stanford Medicine, Bank of America, among others.
As a highly sought-after conference headliner, Wakeman holds a certified speaking professional (CSP) designation from the National Speakers Association, and her avid fanbase online has surpassed 250,000 followers.
She has published four best-selling books, the latest of which is Life’s Messy, Live Happy: Things Don’t Have to Be Perfect for You to Be Content. Wakeman shares her latest leadership insights on the Reality-Based Leadership podcast, where she offers practical ways to modernize how leaders evolve their teams beyond the challenges they face
Some of Wakeman’s most memorable and proud career milestones include handpicking and mentoring a team of professionals that have grown into known experts in the leadership field and her research and work in questioning conventional wisdom in HR and leadership, helping many to rethink how we do business and redesigning the world of work.
Wakeman has also created a business model that moved her organization beyond the “hustle culture” to an emphasis on valuing well-being and the ability to produce record results with a small staff while team members still enjoy their lives and each other.
These days, Wakeman lives happily on the beach in the beautiful and magical Baja—Baja California Sur in Mexico. A mom to four adult sons and two incredible women who joined her family, she’s also an avid hiker and a lover of poetry. She rarely passes up the chance to go sailing, snorkeling or scuba diving. Wakeman and her family have summited Kilimanjaro, hiked the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu and she’s currently training for an ascent to Everest Base Camp.
Learn more about Wakeman and the topics she speaks on, see clips of her former speaking engagements and inquire about booking her for your next event by visiting her speaker info page.